Now I have a Lathe

For Christmas, My Dad was nice enough to give me a metal cutting lathe. The Men’s shed he is a part of had it sitting around some time, and wanted to make some space.

This is the lathe in it’s entirety. As you can see in this photo, I’ve already added one of the Ebay quick change tool posts to it.

It is a Advance lathe – made in Melbourne Australia. They don’t seem to be too obscure, I’ve seen multiple references to them around the internet, which is handy, but they aren’t exactly as common as some of the other brands out there.

About the lathe

As I mentioned before, the Advance lathes were made here in Australia. They were manufactured in Melbourne from around the late 40’s, and were manufactured in one form or another into the 80’s. They are a clone of the popular Myford ML2 and ML4 lathes.

At some point, the lathe was given a fresh coat of paint, but you can still see the brass name plate showing through

Lathe.co.uk have a great write up on them, and many other vintage lathes which can be found here.

There is an archived version of another website with a wealth of info on them Titanium Studios Archived Page. It is always a shame when a good source of info regarding something like this disappears from the internet, but sometimes we are lucky enough for some of it to be archived elsewhere for prosperity.

Judging by the serial number stamped on the bed, This particular lathe was manufactured sometime before 1962, as it is stamped with the original manufacturer’s initials (AK – for Albert Kerby), and he sold the business and retired in 1962.

I’m guessing it was quite some time earlier than that, as from my reading, this lathe is a fairly early design. According to the lathes.co.uk site, features like the full nut on the leadscrew, and the dog clutch that are present on this machine were only features of the early models.

This lathe also has the split brass plain bearings in the headstock. I haven’t tried too hard to move them, but there doesn’t seem to be much play in them. I also left the headstock in place during my disassembly, as I was a little afraid of mis-aligning it when I put it back together.

I received the lathe with only only a 3 jaw self centering chuck, and a face plate, which is OK to get started, but I’m going to have to find a 4 jaw independent chuck at some point.

The headstock spindle is apparently threaded with a 1 inch bsf thread (10 tpi). I will note that while it is 10 threads per inch, aparently BSF uses a different angle thread, and chuck backing plates such as the one littlemachineshop sells (Part # 1791) is not suitable.

The bore on the headstock spindle is 17/32 inch.

The 3 jaw Chuck on my lathe is around 85mm. I’m  unsure if this is original or not. My reading suggests that there are a handful of older lathes around with 1 inch bsf thread, but it’s fairly rare. This makes it difficult to buy a backing plate for a new chuck that is ready to go. As such, when I get around to mounting a new chuck, i’m going to have to make a new one. This means I’m probably going to have to wait until I get a bit of experience before I attempt it. I’ll have to make do with the 3 jaw chuck for now.

If I understand correctly, the lathe has a Morse Taper MT1 in the tailstock, and a MT2 taper in the headstock.

My lathe is missing the change gears for thread cutting, everything to mound the gears, and the dog clutch to engage the gears. From my reading, the change gears for the Myford ML1- ML4 and ML7 lathes can be used with modification. I’m still trying to work that out. It would be awesome to be able to restore the power feed / thread cutting capabilities at some point.

Cleaning it up

The first thing I had to do before firing it up is to give it a good clean. It’s home for the last few years at least has been the welding area at the Men’s shed that me dad is part of. It hadn’t seen much use there because they have bigger and better lathes, but such an environment isn’t exactly the best place for any precision equipment.

When I started delving deep, there was years of crud built up underneath it, which all needed to be cleaned off. So, that’s what I did. I had the thing fairly well pulled apart, cleaned up, oiled and put back together in a couple of days.

years of gunk build up to clean out

As you can see, there was a lot of gunk to clean out

Pulling most of it apart allowed me to assess how worn things were, and from best as I can tell, this lathe has seen some use! there seems to be a reasonable level of wear on the lathe ways, and the leadscrew and it’s Full nut seem pretty well worn. Having said that, to me, a Lathe noob, I think it’s going to be serviceable to get me started in machining on a lathe, and is a wonderful little piece of Australian manufacturing history.

Hopefully I can learn a bit about restoring machinery like this along the way!

This process also allowed me to familiarize myself with the working parts of the lathe, and to understand what is missing. It is fairly complete, however, it is missing the gearing to drive the leadscrew for cutting threads. Actually, it appears to be missing more than that, the dog clutch mechanism that drives the leadscrew is completely missing. Actually, I suspect that the whole leadscrew at some point has been replaced. That’s OK. Having some level of power feed would be handy, as would thread cutting, but there are ways around the missing features, and some lathes, like the smaller taig and sherline lathes don’t actually have it.

In here there was originally a dog clutch that allowed for engagement of the leadscrew for gear cutting. It is missing, and I hope to attempt to make a new one

The missing gears do open the possibility for a future project in attempting to figure out the gears required, and scourcing (or making) a set of gears (and related clutch mechanism) to restore the function. The more I use the lathe, the more I realise having some kind of power feed would be very handy!

Time to turn some metal!

So, with everything cleaned up, oiled, and put back together, it was time to make some things. Delving into my odds and ends, I managed to find a bit of round rod, and what is closer to a really thick tube, to have a play with.

First cuts were a bit rough. My second attempts were better, but could be improved. I have a long way to go before I’m churning out high quality work I think.

Then, I figured I need to actually make something. I noticed the quill handles on my drill press were missing some of the little plastic knobs that went on the end. I figured I’d take a crack at making some replacements, using the one original as a guide.

I used some of the mild steel rod that I had to make the pieces. Aluminium might have been better, and wouldn’t rust, but we’ll see how a bit of oil on them keeps the rust at bay. The first one didn’t turn out so good. The second was better, the third about the same. I scrapped the first, and made a fourth to give a set of three acceptable ones. They were simply epoxied onto the chrome plated shafts. So far, so good.

My first project, you can see my first attempt on the left, and the right one is my second attempt.

 

All three new knobs glued on, and the handles fitted back to the drill

And with that, my first little project was completed. It was simple, and rough, but you have to start somewhere, right?

I look forward to the other little projects I can bring you in the future! I’m sure there will be many. Some of them might actually USE the lathe, instead of fixing or upgrading features on it!

I hope I can put together a bit of info on this lathe, for others who may encounter one. I doubt I can ever rival the linked posts, but the more info out there, the better. So, I’ll try and keep everyone updated on the blog.

Thanks Dad for the awesome Christmas present

Until next time, Adios!

Christmas Gifts – Hand made Knives

For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with making knives, having made a few knives for myself. There is a thriving online community in knife making, and it is gaining popularity as a hobby.

For Christmas this year, we decided to make some presents for people, and I decided to make some knives for different members of our family.

Today’s blog is more of a display of what  I have made. I do have quite a few process photos, so I hope to make a couple of individual process threads for some of these knives. This post is just a overall look at all of them.

Kiridashi

For my three sisters and my Mum, I made Kiridashi’s from 1075 high carbon steel. Two are straight steel, Two had a wood scale, held in with brass pins.

 

Fixed blade Knives

For my Dad, and one of my brother in law, I made fixed blade knives.

I made a sheepsfoot kitchen chopper style knife for my dad, with scales made of wood that he and mum found in their travels.

Again, they are made from 1075 high carbon steel.

 

 

My Brother in law got a sheepsfoot knife of a different design, with black G10 handle scales.

 

Slipjoint Folding knives

My Father in law, and other brother in law both got hand crafted slipjoint folding knives, They are linerless, with G10 scales, brass pins, and screw pivots. Again, the steel used is 1075 high carbon steel.

 

 

All the designs were new, and It took a lot of work, and I tried a lot of new things, and I think they came out great. I hope the recipients enjoy their new gifts, as while it was a lot of work to get them finished, I enjoyed making them!

Ozito belt grinder to stand alone 2x48inch grinder

I started this blog post ages ago, and add bits to it occasionally. Now I’m almost happy with the way it runs, I figure I should post it up and let you all see it in all it’s hideous glory.

This story begins with a $69 bench grinder with attached belt grinder. THIS one to be specific.

This is the grinder from Bunnings.

 

There is nothing similar for close to this  money. However, of course, you get what you pay for.

To start with, its very underpowered. That was kind of expected, but I thought it might do. The biggest problem though was getting it to track correctly.

The tracking mechanism was horrendous, and it would take 10 to 15 minutes to get the thing to track right if you changed belts etc… and the pressed sheet metal parts would bend all the time.

I tried to use it as is, but fairly quickly started modifying it to make it suit my needs better.

 

Modifications Phase One – Simple tweaks

The grinder before any modifications

Here is the grinder before I begin any modifications on it

I began by modifying the grinder to work suitably with my needs, rotating the belt so it ran vertically, and adding a new work support that was nice and large.

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier

A small template I made to make re-drilling the holes in the case of the unit easier

 

The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

The holes drilled in the grinder case. The slots you can see are the original mounting positions

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

Here is the grinder after the modification. Much easier to use.

This worked OK, but the issue of belt tracking still existed, so on went the modifications.

 

Modification Phase 2 – Fixing the tracking, and going bigger

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts

Here is an overall shot of the grinder, now running the longer belts.

 

Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Here is a close up of the tracking system I make. Far from perfect, but it kinda worked.

Now, I was getting sick of how hard it is to get the grinder to track right. the mechanism was so bad, it was almost impossible to get it to run right. So I set out to make a new tracking system, and while I was at it, extend the length, so I could fit the longer 48 inch belts.

The tracking system is made from angle iron, and uses some parts left over from the previous tracking system, mainly the tension spring.

Now, this tracking system is not perfect, but Its a heck of a lot better than the original system.

 

Modification Phase 3 – chuck everything out and start again.

Belt Grinder

OK, at this point, its hard to call it a modification, its basically a new grinder. All that remains of the original grinder are the drive and tracking wheels. They seem to be holding up so far.

I had a 400 watt electric motor from a pool filter pump I had kicking about, which I originally picked up to make a disk grinder out of. I noticed that its shaft is exactly the right diameter for the drive wheel of the Ozito grinder.

Using some scrap metal which I salvaged from a wall support from a CRT TV as the basis for this grinder, I’ve constructed a more traditional style belt grinder.

Belt grinder

 

This grinder now works much better than any iterations before it. It does still have its ideosyncracies though.

The gas strut I’m using is too strong, and puts way too much tension on the belt. Unfortunately, due to construction, I can’t move the location further down the pivot point, to reduce its leverage effects, as the main support gets in the way.

 

Modification Phase 4 – Further Improvements.

So at this point, I decided to change directions with the way I was doing the belt tensioning. I moved to a telescoping pillar style method, using vertical shaft of the grinder as the outer  motion point. It uses the same gas strut for tension, but this way it provides less force on the belt, and things run pretty nicely.

The grinder as it stood before receiving the wheel and platten update.

 

After that, I felt what was holding me back was the wheels on the grinder. The skateboard wheels I have been using have a slight taper in one direction, that makes keeping the belt straight a little difficult. I could try and correct the taper, but in the end, I chose to simply replace them with proper grinder wheels.

The wheels I’m using came from Ebay, all the way from Poland from THIS store  (no affiliation, just bought them from here). Being custom made for the purpose, they are a lot more solid, and are actually square compared to the slight taper the skateboard wheels had.

 

This is the wheel set that I bought for the grinder. Currently I’m not using the drive wheel.

 

My current frame for the skateboard wheel assembly wasn’t going to work for the new wheels, so I went back to the drawing board, and  started fresh. Some more scrap steel from the brackets and bits & pieces I had lying about, and I had a one piece frame, and I didn’t have to worry about welding bits of steel together in the same plane like I did with the original.

 

Laying out the new platten / wheel assembly

 

Getting things lined up on the new platten assembly

 

Here I align the work platform and receiver before welding it on.

 

Here is the grinder with its new wheels. I’m yet to mount the actual platten in this image, but you can see how it looks at least.

It’s been quite a journey from a crappy, overly cheap bench grinder with attached belt sander, all the way through to a slighly more powerful grinder that functions a whole lot better. There are things I’d change. If I were starting again, Ideally, I’d avoid the bench grinder all together, and just start with a set of the wheels I posted, a motor that suits the wheels and a nice pile of fresh steel. Its always good to use what you have lying around, but often you get nicer results by investing some money and doing things properly.

Now I’m fairly happy with it’s layout and operation, I’m happy to let the grinder’s evolution to rest here for a little bit. It’s working as well as could be expected, but there is always something else to tweak. What I want to do now is USE my grinder to get making some things, specifically a few knives.

And for you all that read though to the end, here is a video of me talking about the grinder, and it running:

Visiting my local maker space, and playing with 3d printers

So, Last night I payed my second visit to my local maker space here in Canberra, Make Hack Void. A couple of weeks ago, I came to chat about 3d printers, and this week I came in hopes to get hands on experience with the one they have at the space – a Lulzbot TAZ 5. I’d never had the opportunity to play with a 3d printer before, but had read about them in passing previously.

A few weeks back, my father was talking to me about 3d printers, and that his local Mens Shed was interested in possibly purchasing one to learn and experiment with. With this in mind, I began researching printers a bit more seriously, and I finally made the plunge to go visit Make Hack Void, as it seems like a great place to learn about such things without breaking the bank and buying a 3d printer myself.

Getting involved in MakeHackVoid has been on my todo list for waaay to long, so it’s nice to finally get a chance to visit.

All they guys I’ve met so far have been really friendly, and even though I’ve only been there twice, and I’m generally an awkward, shy person in unfamiliar places, I felt comfortable, included and at ease. I actually felt part of the place.

Anyway, back to the 3d printers. I bought with me a few models that I’d like to print, but starting with a fairly basic model that would print fairly quickly, and allow me to get things done.

The model I was printing was a modified version of this model:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2234814

I modified the original print to remove the actual Lyre style shockmount for this print. It’s pretty basic, but it prints fairly quickly (this took about an hour), and lets me check the sizing of the clip, and cold shoe, as well as seeing if the arms are likely to snap in half as soon as I try and clip in the microphone. The model I printed is shown below, and I’ve uploaded it to Thingiverse at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2497931

 

The Lulsbot Taz5 printed my first print fantastically. It was touch and go early on, when the long skinny clip arms came off the print bed, but damage was minimal, and the print kept going, all the way to completion, and I ended up with a very usable print.

3D printers are mesmerising to watch, and the Taz5 sounds like a happy little robot buzzing around the printbed as it worked away.

As I mentioned earlier, the print I did last night took about an hour to print. While it printed, we chatted about 3D printers, and some electronics, and I managed to snap a few pictures of the print in progress, as well as the settings we used:

Finally, once the print was complete I let the printer cool for a few minutes and then the print popped right off the print bed.

Once I got home, I  snapped a few pictures of the completed clip, so you can see the details of the print, and attached the mic to the camera, so you can see it in action.

So my first hands on 3D printer experience went better than I could have expected, and everyone at Make Hack Void are really friendly & inviting. I look forward to coming back again soon so I can have good chat with everyone, and play some more with the printer!

Step for sore puppy

Our dog Bella is about 9 years old now, and she has arthritis in at least her back hips, and I suspect her front ones are developing it as well.

So, my wife and I figured she needed some kind of step to help her get up onto her favourite chair, so this past weekend  I made her a step to help her get onto her chair.

All projects begin with some planning. Design wise, it’s pretty basic. It is just a wooden crate. Sketchup is fun and easy to use for sketching out designs like this. I began using dimensions from pine timber at Bunnings, but due to there being a surprise amount of timber needed to go into it, I decided to use what I could scrounge up around the house. Free is always good.

This is a rough cut and screw together project. There is no fine woodworking happening here!

Screwing sides together

Screwing sides together

In order to avoid bothering with trying to glue up a bunch of not completely straight pieces of timber, I went with screws. The strips of timber on the ends hold the two side pieces together. They are also decorative. Width wasn’t particularly important, and these were offcuts from ripping the timber for the thin strip on the top of the side.

On a side note, It can be a pain to rip a board that is already cut to length with a hand held circular saw, as the fence runs out of timber to guide it. It is easier to do if the board is longer than needed though.

Screwing the sides together

 

Sides done, now working on the top

 

 

Job done, Bella testing out the box. Apparently it makes a good pillow

 

For anyone interested in building something similar, Here is a picture of the sketchup drawing of my project. Please note that I made this to suit the timber I had lying around, and to match about 1/2 the hight of the chair, so if you are making this for a similar purpose, you may need to adjust your sizing to suit your chair, and the timber you are using. You could also turn this upside down, and it makes a fairly sturdy storage crate.

sketchup layout

Plant stand DIY

Long weekends are good times to do projects around the house, and at the moment we are trying to grow some stuff. Here is one of the things I made last year during a long weekend. I can’t remember which weekend it was. I need to be more efficient at posting these posts.plant stand

We had this big terracotta pot from our previous trials, and we needed a stand to get it off the ground, to make it easier to get to, and to stop Bella, our dog from digging in it. Even though she has an entire yard that she can dig in, as soon as you give her a nice pot plant to dig in, she will. if there are plants, she’ll have them out of there!

The frame is nothing spectacular, and won’t win any design awards, but it’ll hold for now.

I made the design up as I went along, cutting up a length of construction lumber, and some bits of a pallet to build it, it was all just stuff I had lying around.

Its still holding strong so far, although the lettuce we had growing in the pot has succumbed to the heat of summer. We need to find something new to try and grow in there.Plant stand close up

I think it turned out pretty well. At the very least, it performs its intended task quite well